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Montreal Dietitian Janna Boloten on Breakfast to go!

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Read the story and get the recipes here!

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Faux Chocolate Chip Blondies

I am tired of baking with sugar sugar sugar and white flour which is like sugar.  I found a dessert recipe with chickpeas and peanut butter and I modified it and made it for the family.  They were so-so about it but I think it is because of the peanut butter taste. Kids these days just don’t like good ol’ PB. It’s actually kind of sad.

Chick peas are a protein-carbohydrate food and they add the perfect moisture to these faux blondies. You can reduce or omit the chocolate chips altogether for a healthier version.

Nothing like home baked goodness instead of boxed processed junk. (D the Intern made these to bring to work and they were happily devoured!)

blondies 3

Faux and Flourless 

Chocolate Chip Blondies

1 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 can of chick peas (drained and rinsed)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients except chocolate chips into a food processor and blend until very smooth.
Put in chocolate chips and pulse a few times until mixed in.
Pour batter into an 8”x8” greased pan.
Bake for 30 minutes. 


Note: The blondies in these photos were marbled by melting the chocolate chips in a double boiler first and later stirred in. This proved more difficult than expected because the chickpea mixture is very thick. The melted chocolate didn’t marble that nicely. Either way, it ended up being delicious!

Try it and let us know how it turns out and if you liked it!

 

blondies 2

Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s

84DE5FFB-AF0F-420A-BB5F-B5C79E404033When I was working in public home care, I used to visit a lot of seniors.  Sadly, many of them had some form of mild to severe dementia.  At one of my home visits, a family member of one of my clients asked me if coconut oil was good for improving the memory of those with Alzheimer’s.  I told them I never heard about that.  I went back to my office and I did a bit of googling and found that there were in fact studies being done on this.  Researchers where looking at the fatty acids in the oil to see of they had any effect.

I met a few other families that had heard about this and were cooking with coconut oil and telling me that it was helping their loved ones.  Who was I to tell them there wasn’t yet enough evidence to confirm that coconut oil improves memory? Many seniors especially those over the age of 80 are at risk for malnutrition as evidenced by weight loss secondary to myriad of issues.

coconuts

Here is a current article written by a dietitian on the Extenso website that confirms that coconut oil is not the cure for Alzheimer’s.  But coconut oil is fat.  Fat has calories.  Calories are needed for weight gain especially for those who need to increase weight to improve health status.  It would be remiss to tell those clients not to try it.

The placebo effect is a beautiful thing.

Addendum: Dr. Joe posted this on October 10, 2013!

 

 

(Featured image taken off madeofmuscle.net)

 

Dr. Joe Schwarcz: The Right Chemistry

I recently attended a book signing by Cote Saint Luc’s very own Dr. Joe Schwarcz. Dr. Joe, as he is affectionately known by students and admirers alike, has a new book entitled The Right Chemistry.  It is his 13th book and it takes the ‘‘mistry” out of chemistry. The Right Chemistry is filled with wonderful vignettes about science written with humour and interesting facts.   As Dr. Joe always says “You need the sugar to make the medicine go down!”

Dr. Joe is known for making chemistry fun, fascinating and accessible to the masses.  Dr. Joe teaches chemistry at McGill and is noted for his interesting lectures.  He also gives talks to the regular folks too, like his monthly Mondays at the Cote Saint Luc Eleanor London Library called Science Demystified.

Over the years Dr. Joe has become a kind of watchdog for the quack science that has emerged more rapidly and venomously than ever before.  This is probably due to the advent of the internet, email, social media etc.   A lot of the claptrap out there is attached to health claims from disease curing foods to the evils of plastics.  Chances are if you have a question about something you got in an email or saw on the internet then Dr. Joe has already received an email about it.  According to Dr. Joe, many of these questions can be answered with one word: Nonsense!  Why? Because you need properly conducted scientific studies that are evidenced based to promote accurate health information.

Nutrition is a hot topic these days.  It seems like one day eggs are the devil and the next day they are the star.  Butter recently made a comeback while sugar is the new evil.  Dr. Joe is an encyclopedia of science but especially so with nutrition.  He sifts through all the garbage and promotes only evidence based nutrition information. He says that you can’t go wrong if you eat your fruits and veggies.

Dr. Joe has a handful of recipes he created with some well studied ingredients.  I am pleased to say that Dr. Joe has given me permission to post these recipes. Watch for them over the next few weeks.

Most of these recipes can be found in their cooked form at my neighbourhood fruit and vegetable store called Quality Fruits.  As local lore has it, Dr. Joe’s vegetarian goulash was created as a joke.  These days you can often find Dr. Joe doing quality control and tasting the wonderful foods.  If you happen to see Dr. Joe at Quality don’t hesitate to go up to him and say hi.  He will not bigfoot you and will gladly answer that burning question you have about blueberry enzymes curing your gout.

Do you stick to one supermarket?

I was standing in line recently at my local grocery store, wondering why I shop there.  It’s dirty, very small and it’s not the cheapest. So, what’s the deal with this place?  I guess it’s the familiarity.  It’s the neighborhood presence, the place where I feel like Norm from Cheers.

There is a cast of characters at this supermarket that amuses me greatly.  I love the fishmonger guy with the funny haircut and the good recipes.  It’s fun to watch the banter between the German lady at the fast food counter and the heavy set woman who does the BBQ chickens.  I love the milkman who is endlessly restocking the dairy section.  Then there is the religious Jewish guy at the Kosher counter who can’t figure me out .  But the best is the cashiers.  There is the happy guy who dropped a 100 pounds and is now a personal trainer on the side. The girl who keeps changing her hair color but never seems to wreck it.  The big lady who never cracks a smile. I also love those car order guys because they are some of the politest young men I have ever encountered.

I really appreciate the fact that if I have a suggestion or a complaint the managers take me very seriously.  They have really done wonders with the coffee section.  No need to got to Starbuck’s anymore.  The vegetarian section has some good stuff too.

At my store I know where almost everything is. I just want to get in and out as quickly as possible.  The longer I linger the more I spend.  Especially since I am of the dietitian persuasion, I feel it necessary to buy every new so called healthy product out there.  My dad the accountant says that is considered a business expense.  But who has time to separate the grocery bill into family and business?

Whenever I find myself at a fancier store I tend to over spend because I find every new food product invented.  I’ve tried hitting the bargain supermarket in the name of frugality but it is just not the same.  I miss the gang.

 

Addendum: The above article was published several months ago in a local newspaper.  I got a call from a reader who thanked me for this article, stating that what he got from it, was how important it is to support local business.  That wasn’t my conscious intention when I wrote the piece.  However, the subtext is just that. I do support local business even if it costs a bit more.

Aside

Scratch it baby

These days, most people know that maintaining optimal health begins with what we eat.  The problem is in today’s world everything is fast paced including food.  In the olden days the mom would be home home cooking and keeping house all day long.  There would be time to bake homemade breads and cook all meals from scratch with wholesome ingredients.  This is just not possible anymore with 2 income families.  Even if one parent stays home there are tons of activities and things to get done that make this type of cooking nearly impossible.

Here are some ways to facilitate the process of making healthy foods.  Consider small appliances as tools to make quick and easy recipes.  For example, a small immersion blender turns a pot of chunky vegetables into a smooth soup.  It does the same for a pot of meat sauce and the bonus is the kids won’t know you blended veggies into it!  A food processor is the king for chopping and grating.  I use mine to grate large blocks of cheese.  This saves me money because pre-grated cheese is a fortune.  I use the grated cheese on homemade pizza, over pasta, in casseroles and for omelets.  The standing mixer is da bomb when it comes to baking.  It’s easy to buy cookies and other snacks for lunches but nothing beats homemade especially since you can control the amount of sugar and the type of flour that goes into the recipe.  Home baked goods can be a source of whole grains and fiber.  Store bought less so.

When making a meal from scratch why not make a double batch and freeze it right away?  Chop the vegetables the night before and your meal will be half prepared when you get home from work.  Order your groceries online which creates more time to cook. As you can see, the key to healthy eating really is in the planning.  Take some time to make menus and grocery lists so you already know what to make for supper or go to a website like www.thescramble.com which does it for you.

These are just a few ideas to motivate you to cook more and order or eat out less.  Stay tuned for some cooking short cuts to create easy and healthy meals.

 

Beer Tastes Good

Mmmm beer.  It reminds me of Homer Simpson.  I can’t remember drinking my first beer but I am sure I did not like it.  As an underage teenager I quickly learned the effects that beer could have on one’s self.  It intrigued me and I realized if I wanted to experience those effects I needed to get over my distaste for beer and learn to drink it.

Perhaps my intentions for developing a relationship with beer were dumb but nowadays I really love the taste of beer. In my university days I was big on local micro breweries.  My favorite was Belle Gueule. I am sure there was another one but oddly enough I can’t remember. Then I started drinking the European types and settled on red, Rickard’s Red!  If I ever find myself at a bar these days I opt for Sleeman.I know I have gotten boring.


Nutritionally speaking, there is nothing healthy about beer.  It contains calories derived from sugar alcohols which do not contribute to a healthy diet.  Consider beer a treat and not an everyday thing.  In fact, it’s worth reminding readers that the recommended daily intake for beer for women is a 12 ounce bottle and for men it’s 2 bottles.  Drinking more than recommended is associated with increase risk for many diseases.

A bottle of beer could set you back between 100-200 calories.  Not good if you are trying to watch the waistline.  Everybody has their vices.  Beer and alcoholic beverages are vices just like cheesecake, chips and chocolate.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, everything in moderation is the way to go.

I truly do love the taste of beer but I don’t need the extra calories or the loopy feeling I get from drinking 1 bottle.  To most people, this will amount to blasphemy but keep in mind I do try to set an example.  I drink non-alcoholic beer. It tastes great and it costs me 50 calories a bottle.  Nothing beats a tasty non-alcoholic beer on a hot summer day hanging out with friends.